Claire Booker’s Story

 Oruawairua, Blumine Island.

This was where my journey began.
Basking in bird song and sunshine, I was having the time of my life. Exam stress was wearing off, however I was now faced with the dreadful question that was constantly thrown my way- what next? I was lost without the structure of school and had no clue what the future would look like.


Spending a week in the serenity of Blumine Island, surrounded by future leaders was where it all changed.


I realized through the support of my new Untouched World whanau that I didn’t need my life planned out for the next five years, and that was a weight off my shoulders. 

Kekerengu, Kaikoura. 

The week following Blumine Island had me frantically filling in applications for a course in Media Communications at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. This is a course I hope will aid me in understanding:

How we can influence change for a sustainable future in a way that is accessible and achievable?

I scrambled for references from tired teachers who thought they were finished with students for the year. I was fizzing with excitement, much like a bottle of soda in the hands of a young child. My family were shocked at the quick decision I had made to head to the city and study. I no longer dreaded being asked “what my plans were for 2019?”  Because I now had an answer and direction.  

Further excitement came when I received an email from Mark Prain and Barry Law, from the Untouched World Foundation. They had invited me on the first ever Untouched World Advanced Leadership Programme. My keyboard was on fire as I drafted my excited reply, accepting their incredible offer. That afternoon, I also received a voicemail left by Barry in which he referred to the email I had been sent and asked me to phone him as soon as possible. I was sure that he was about to break the news to me that the email was in fact sent to the wrong address and that I was uninvited to the ALP gathering. Fortunately for me, this was not the case. I was invited, and I came away from the phone call feeling happier than ever. 

Mt. Aspiring Lodge, Wanaka. 

Finally, the long-anticipated wait was over, and the ALP commenced. The weekend was filled with answers to some of the world's biggest problems, many of which I hadn’t even considered the questions to.  My brain was filled with information and my notebook faced the wrath of my mind working at double speed.  Magically, my path is looking less cloudy and I am very grateful to the people who inspired me to be an active part of the positive future we will create for those who follow in our footsteps.

The Present, no fixed location. 

What next?  The question that once filled my veins with dread, now lights my body with excitement.  I now have an answer, which surprisingly is the same as nearly three months ago - I don’t know!  What I do know is that I will continue to grow and learn, and I now realize that this is what I want my future to look like.  I aspire to be a part of the positive change that is yet to come, and I will do this with the faith that I have support all around me.  All I need to do is ask. 

Who knows where I will be this time next year?  

Reflecting on the changes I have made since Blumine Island, to the developing leader I am today, I can’t wait to find out. 

Claire Booker

Claire Booker